So you plan to breastfeed? That’s awesome! I knew the minute I found out I was pregnant I wanted to nurse. But I can definitely say I wasn’t prepared for it. I wasn’t prepared for the pain, or the pumping, or the constant anxiety over having too much or not enough milk. But, I did it. And you can too. Lucky for you I have made this list of breastfeeding necessities you will want to have on hand before you have your baby.
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1. Breast Pump
Not everyone will absolutely need a breast pump, but a lot of women do. And when you realize you need it, you’re going to want it right away! You’ll be engorged, and your newborn can’t drink enough to relieve it. That’s when the pump comes in.
Pumping will allow you to save your milk so it’s not going to waste. It will also help to maintain and/or increase your supply. Your body produces milk on demand, so if it thinks you need more, it will adjust to fit your baby’s needs.
Check out this list of the BEST breast pumps!
Pumping is also nice so that you can have some extra milk on hand so that dad or anyone else can feed the baby if you can’t or just want a break. Another thing I didn’t know about before having a baby is that when your baby latches on, you will have what’s called a “let down.” It’s a sudden rush of milk. This is great and all, but both of your breasts will let down at the same time. While your baby is attached to one, the other is soaking your nursing pad. I always had my breast pump on the opposite site my baby was nursing. I saved soo much milk this way.
Most people can get a free breast pump through their health insurance, but if not you can get a hand pump pretty cheap! (They’re great for travel or just to keep in the car in case you need it!)
2. Milk Storage Bags
Storage bags are nice because they have the ounces on the packaging, along with a place for the date.
They’re also easy to store if you freeze them laying flat. You can then line them up in any container once they’re frozen, a lot of people prefer soda boxes.
Don’t forget to check out The Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding Your Baby
3. Nursing tanks/bras
I don’t know how some people go without a nursing tank top or bra. I lived in nursing clothes for six months straight. So this is definitely one of the breastfeeding necessities. They are so convenient because they just unclip on each side. They also hold your nursing pads in place really well.
4. Nursing pads
Nursing pads are a must. There are two kinds – disposable and reusable. No matter the preference, they’re a lifesaver. When you’re nursing your baby, the opposite breast will also let down, if you’re not simultaneously pumping then you’ll need a nursing pad.
But, you can’t prepare for the random times of the day that you start to leak. The worst is when you start thinking about your baby and your milk starts letting down, it’s a real thing! Ask any mother. I remember almost every time I started thinking about when my daughter would need to eat again, my milk would start to let down and my nursing pads saved me. These are the reusable ones I used, they were really thick and worked very well.
Sidenote: If you’re looking for even more awesome articles on life with a new baby, you’ve got to check out my friends over at thinkbaby.org! They have so much helpful info for new moms, including what to pack (and not pack) in your hospital bag, safest co-sleepers, and so much more!
5. Nipple cream
For the first little while, nursing hurts. So bad. Your nipples are raw, cracked, and when your baby latches on it will bring a tear to your eye. But don’t worry! Your breasts get used to it pretty quickly. I was putting on this nipple cream every five minutes. It helped quite a bit!
6. Nipple shield
SO many people swear by nipple shields. I personally didn’t have to use one because my daughter didn’t have a hard time nursing. But a lot of babies do, whether it’s because of a lip/tongue tie, or they’re just not getting it, a nipple shield helps baby get their milk, and helps mommy from screaming in pain. Win-win.
7. Nursing cover
Breastfeeding in public is awkward enough, you’ll want a cover. I even found myself using my cover in my house as well, with all the friends and family coming over to visit the baby. There are so many different styles of nursing covers out there. But I actually preferred the cheaper, less fancy one. The ones that double as a car seat cover are cool, but they aren’t as convenient as the cheaper ones. This one is the one I used, and I loved it because it goes over your head and has a bend in in right in the front, which allows a little gap directly above your baby’s face. This allowed for some ventilation which was nice, but I liked it because I could look straight down and see her, but no one else could see anything. I will be sticking to this one for all my babies!
8. Burp rags
Yes, a thousand times yes. Burp rags are great for burping, but I used them to tuck under my breast to catch all the milk. Also, there was a time that my milk would let down so fast that she couldn’t keep up, so she’d unlatch right in the middle of my let down and milk would spray everywhere! I know, gross. But, I always had a burp rag in hand to catch it. Motherhood – gotta love it!
Breastfeeding was hard. It hurt. Do I regret it? Not one bit. If you want to nurse your baby, do it! Don’t listen to the naysayers! Just try, and we hope you try these breastfeeding necessities! And if you try, and you just can’t do it… that doesn’t make you any less of a mother than anyone else. You do what’s best for you and your sweet baby. Good luck, Mama! You got this.